sabato 10 novembre 2018

BULDOŽER - "ZABRANJENO PLAKATIRATI" (1977)

Buldožer were the most critically acclaimed band from Slovenia. A huge part of their myth was built around their debut album, "Pljuni istini u oči" (1975). To be honest, I don't like it very much, since it was heavily influenced by Frank Zappa and featured too many comedy sketches and spoken parts.

"Zabranjeno plakatirati" is their second studio effort and their real masterpiece, looking at Captain Beefheart instead of Zappa, and mixing his influence with a rigorous, mathematical approach to guitar riffs and rhythm tricks. You can give it a try if you like avant-prog, but also if you like blues rock... something you can't say about many other albums.

Boris Bele - guitars, vocals
Vili Bertok - bass
Marko Brecelj - vocals
Borut Činč - keyboards
Tone Dimnik - drums 
Uroš Lovšin - guitars

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martedì 30 ottobre 2018

PIRAMIS - "PIRAMIS" (1977)

Piramis was the most popular rock band in Hungary during the late Seventies.
This is their debut album, their only one that I would classify as progressive rock, just before switching into a more conventional hard rock sound.
The band had a strong appeal on male rock music listeners, thanks to their powerful and elaborate arrangements, but also among the female audience, with frontman and singer Sándor Révész being considered a sex symbol. 

Their lyrics had to satisfy the authority, avoiding subversive slogans and political suggestions, but this didn't prevent them from producing great music, incorporating in their songs funk, jazz fusion, and classical elements, but also local influences from the likes of space-prog legends Omega
Every member helped during the songwriting process, with keyboard player Péter Gallai being the main composer. He also provided lead vocals in songs such as "Ki tudja, hol van", with its adorable cabaret atmosphere.

The album sold more than 100.000 copies at the time, and the ballad "Ha volna két életem" is still one of the most popular Hungarian songs ever.

Péter Gallaivocals + keyboards
Lajos Som: bass
Závodi János: guitars
Miklós Koves: drums
Sándor Révészvocals (and some guitar, I suppose, since he's credited as one of the composers of the instrumental jam "A fénylő piramisok árnyékában")

DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

sabato 20 ottobre 2018

INDEXI - "INDEKSI" (cassette, 1972)

This rare, never-reissued cassette was Indexi's first full-lenght release. It wasn't a proper album, but more of an anthology of unreleased songs recorded from 1969 to 1972. 

This garagey proto-progressive style was already surpassed by the time of its release, but the songs were still powerful, dynamic, and perfectly crafted. 
In fact, some of them are so amazing that I prefer this record to the symphonic prog classic "Modra rijeka" (1978), which is usually considered Indexi's masterpiece.

The delay between some of the recording sessions and the cassette release must be taken in account too. The epic suite "Negdje na kraju, u zatišju" may have been dated in 1972, but it surely wasn't in 1969, when progressive rock was at the beginning.

Sadly, the cassette didn't sell well, and these songs remained an underground affair, despite Indexi being the most popular band from Bosnia at the time.

Tracklist:
1. "Dan kao ovaj" (1970)
(Fadil Redžić/Boriša Falatar)
2. "Hej ti" (1972)
(Ljupčo Konstantinov/Maja Perfiljeva)
3. "Da li postoji ljubav" (1971)
(Milan Đajić/Nikola Borota) 
4. "Najljepše stvari" (1969)
(Slobodan Kovačević/Nikola Borota)
5. "Ja odlazim sutra" (1971)
(Slobodan Kovačević/Nikola Borota)
6. "Negdje na kraju, u zatišju" (1969)
(Slobodan Kovačević/Želimir Altarac)
7. "Galijom sna" (1969)
(Fadil Redžić)

Indexi were:
Davorin Popović - vocals (all tracks)
Slobodan Kovačević - guitar (all tracks)
Fadil Redžić - bass (all tracks)
Miroslav Šaranović - drums (all tracks)
Ismet "Nuno" Arnautalić - guitar (tracks 4, 6, 7)
Ranko Rihtman - keyboards (tracks 1, 3, 6, 7)
Enco Lesić - keyboards (track 2)
Đorđe Novković - keyboards (track 4)
(Keyboard player on track 5 is uncertain. Probably Rihtman or Lesić)

Please note - I uploaded some tracks in two versions: one straight from the old cassette and one from the digital remastersUnfortunately, tracks 3, 4, and 7 have never been remastered.

DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

venerdì 28 settembre 2018

DOLPHIN - "442" (2018)

Dolphin's new album is the shortest of his career, but also his most political one. 
It must not be easy to live in Putin's Russia and release a song like "520", with its statements against the Crimean invasion. 

Compared to his previous work, I think the math rock influence is stronger than ever, whilst the shoegaze component has waned. This is probably due to a new line-up of backing musicians, composed of drummer Vasily Yakovlev and guitar player Igor Babko.  
In the end, another brilliant album from a legend of Russian alternative music.

DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

martedì 11 settembre 2018

BLUE EFFECT - "A BENEFIT OF RADIM HLADÍK" [aka "MODRÝ EFEKT & RADIM HLADÍK"] (1974)

Known as Blue Effect, Modrý Efekt, or M. Efekt, depending on the album, the band lead by guitar player Radim Hladík was one of the most important music acts to ever emerge in Czechoslovakia. 
After starting as a song-oriented project, they embraced instrumental jazz-rock when most of rock music was banned for its subversive lyrics. 

This is their fifth album, the fourth in the jazz-rock style, and probably their best. Whilst their previous efforts were too unbalanced towards free jazz ("Coniunctio", 1970) or sounded like some poor man's Chicago ("Nová syntéza", 1971), this one is mature, original, and intense.

It was recorded in 1973 and released at the end of 1974, in a limited edition for the export market. That version was credited to "The Blue Effect" and titled "A Benefit of Radim Hladík". It was then reissued for the local market one year later, credited to "Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík", which also became the title of every following edition.

Every song is composed and arranged by Hladík, who shows his musicianship with crazy, intricate jazz fusion solos. Bass player Josef Kůstka and drummer Vlado Čech jam at full speed, with funk gusto and syncopated times, while Lešek Semelka's organ and piano provide a symphonic prog touch.
Jazz legend Jiří Stivín appears as a guest, playing wind instruments.

It's not easy to compare this album to anything else. You can try to imagine a symphonic prog version of Mahavishnu Orchestra, but it would be a mere approximation. 
It is also worth noticing that the slow section of "Boty" totally sound like Camel's "Song Within a Song", which would have been recorded only three years later.
This is quite simply one of the best instrumental progressive rock albums ever. 


DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

sabato 28 luglio 2018

R.I.P. Kora

Maanam's main vocalist and Polish rock icon Kora is dead at 67, after a five year battle with cancer (local journals are stating that she had to sold her house to afford the high treatment costs).

If you don't know Maanam yet, you can find all their earlier works here on Soviet Sam.




lunedì 4 giugno 2018

giovedì 26 aprile 2018

PHOENIX - "MUGUR DE FLUIER" (1974)

Phoenix are the most important rock band from Romania.
This is their second album, the one with stronger folk influences. In fact, Whilst you could hear traces of Romanian tradition even in their debut album, here it becomes the dominant force. Many songs are acoustic, and the electric ones have one foot in folk music as well, with violin, percussion, and odd meter patterns.

Even though the band had to cope with the censorship of Ceaucescu's regime, the album was another huge success and songs like "Strunga" and the title track became classics.
The sound quality may come across as slightly muffled, but if you like progressive rock and folk music, you should not miss this little gem.

DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

mercoledì 10 gennaio 2018

JAROMÍR NOHAVICA - "PORUBA" (2017)

Jaromír Nohavica is the greatest and most popular Czech singer-songwriter. 

He was born in Ostrava in 1953 and has occasionally written lyrics for other artists while having his own day job. Only at the start of the Eighties he began to sing his own songs.
As his ambition grew, his work got more and more political, which prompted the authorities to ban him from performing and recording. He was able to release his first album only in 1988, when the Soviet system was collapsing. He was already 35 years old. 

The enormous popularity in his home country has important echoes in Slovakia and Poland as well, where he may not be a star, but can surely claim cult status. 

I am introducing him on this blog with this brand new album, which he released last November. Since most of his old music is message-centered, I think "Poruba" is better suited as a gateway to his world rather than a simple voice-and-guitar album. 
In fact, the tracklist proves Nohavica's curious spirit, with tense piano ballads ("Empire State"), grotesque doggerels with accordion ("Černá jáma"), and even hip hop experiments (the title track). There are not many singers out there that can claim such a fresh album at the age of 64.


DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)